Author Topic: Cooling wort with ice?  (Read 2803 times)

Offline Philbrew

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 867
    • View Profile
Cooling wort with ice?
« on: December 15, 2014, 04:51:02 AM »
I'm a rookie at home brewing and getting equipment together to start brewing.  I understand that you need to cool wort rapidly after boiling but wort chillers are expensive.  Why can't you just freeze some brew water in sanitized ice cube trays or half quart/quart food storage containers and pop the ice in the wort coming off the boil to cool?
Many of us would be on a strict liquid diet if it weren't for pretzels.

Offline a10t2

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4508
  • Ask me why I don't like Chico!
    • View Profile
    • SeanTerrill.com
Re: Cooling wort with ice?
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2014, 05:31:58 AM »
There are some issues associated with doing a concentrated boil… Malt-derived color and flavor development, mostly.

Aside from that, no reason not to use sanitary ice for chilling. Equal parts ice and wort will get down to a little below ale pitching temperatures, at sea level.
Sent from my Microsoft Bob

Beer is like porn. You can buy it, but it's more fun to make your own.
Refractometer Calculator | Batch Sparging Calculator | Two Mile Brewing Co.

Offline Lazy Ant Brewing

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 446
    • View Profile
Re: Cooling wort with ice?
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2014, 01:48:20 PM »
One thing I've done on occasion is to reuse water bottles.  I fill them back up allowing some expansion space, freeze the water, and then sanitize the outside of the frozen bottles right before I put them into the wort.

Then I can cool without diluting the wort.

I have a copper immersion chiller I'm using to cool 5-gal batches, but since I'm running city water through it that is  coming from a water tower that's exposed to the sun, the frozen bottles help.  I add them once the temp of the wort gets down to about 90 F.
It's easier to read brewing books and get information from the forum than to sacrifice virgins to appease the brewing gods when bad beer happens!

Offline Philbrew

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 867
    • View Profile
Re: Cooling wort with ice?
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2014, 09:26:13 PM »
Is there an advantage to not diluting the wort when cooling?  I intend to do 6 gal. batches.  I'll use about 2-1/2 to 3 gal. of brew water in the boil.  Then, when cool, dilute with brew water to make 6 gallons.
Many of us would be on a strict liquid diet if it weren't for pretzels.

Offline morticaixavier

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7782
  • Underhill VT
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Cooling wort with ice?
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2014, 09:33:48 PM »
Is there an advantage to not diluting the wort when cooling?  I intend to do 6 gal. batches.  I'll use about 2-1/2 to 3 gal. of brew water in the boil.  Then, when cool, dilute with brew water to make 6 gallons.

if you are already doing a partial boil then there is no reason not to use sanitary ice to dilute and chill at the same time. The concern with diluting is in comparison to a full boil.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
-A Einstein

"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce

Offline mbarnaby

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 30
    • View Profile
Re: Cooling wort with ice?
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2014, 10:11:27 PM »
In the restaurant world the government oversight wont let you cool by adding ice due to ice machines being a breeding ground for bacteria and other nasty's.  I suppose that if it was "sanitized" ice it would work fine if you are bringing the volume up.  I did I fruit lambic once where I frozen raspberries and add them at the end of the boil to cool wort.  I didn't notice any problems. 

Offline flbrewer

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2161
    • View Profile
Re: Cooling wort with ice?
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2014, 01:26:05 AM »
Instead of messing with freezing ice, just chill some distilled water gallon jugs in the refrigerator. If you're doing partial boils you'll be asked to add water after the boil anyways. Last time I used this method, I chilled my 2.5 gallons of so still in the kettle with a small ice bath in a sink down to 100 or so. Into the fermenter this went and once I added the other gallons of chilled water it brought it down to 70 or so.


*I'm assuming you're using distilled water for your beer, you may not be.

Offline morticaixavier

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7782
  • Underhill VT
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Cooling wort with ice?
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2014, 04:26:50 AM »
Instead of messing with freezing ice, just chill some distilled water gallon jugs in the refrigerator. If you're doing partial boils you'll be asked to add water after the boil anyways. Last time I used this method, I chilled my 2.5 gallons of so still in the kettle with a small ice bath in a sink down to 100 or so. Into the fermenter this went and once I added the other gallons of chilled water it brought it down to 70 or so.


*I'm assuming you're using distilled water for your beer, you may not be.

the nice thing about ice is that it takes 30 times as much energy to raise 32* ice to 33* water as it does to raise 33* water to 34*. so you can go from boiling to 64 in about 5 minutes.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
-A Einstein

"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce

Offline Philbrew

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 867
    • View Profile
Re: Cooling wort with ice?
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2014, 04:47:55 AM »
*I'm assuming you're using distilled water for your beer, you may not be.

I plan on using RO water from the machine at Walmart (37 cents/gal.).  I bought an inexpensive TDS meter to check the water to make sure the machine is working properly.


Many of us would be on a strict liquid diet if it weren't for pretzels.

Offline mbalbritton

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 88
  • Tapatalk User
    • View Profile
Re: Cooling wort with ice?
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2014, 12:11:41 PM »
But why? Are we all in that much of a hurry that we can't spare a couple extra minutes standing around the wort chiller drinking a beer?

Guess brewing is just my relaxing time. :D

Offline morticaixavier

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7782
  • Underhill VT
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Cooling wort with ice?
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2014, 02:58:27 PM »
But why? Are we all in that much of a hurry that we can't spare a couple extra minutes standing around the wort chiller drinking a beer?

Guess brewing is just my relaxing time. :D

there are quality benefits to quick cooling. A lowered window of contamination risk, better cold break and therefor better clarity and shelf life, and lower DMS levels to name a few. As an all grain brewer it's not really an option for me but when I do an extract, concentrated boil I don't see why NOT to do this. one of the nice things about extract brewing is the speed and simplicity of the process.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
-A Einstein

"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce

Offline HoosierBrew

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 13030
  • Indianapolis,IN
    • View Profile
Re: Cooling wort with ice?
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2014, 02:59:45 PM »

there are quality benefits to quick cooling. A lowered window of contamination risk, better cold break and therefor better clarity and shelf life, and lower DMS levels to name a few. As an all grain brewer it's not really an option for me but when I do an extract, concentrated boil I don't see why NOT to do this. one of the nice things about extract brewing is the speed and simplicity of the process.

+1
Jon H.

Offline Philbrew

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 867
    • View Profile
Re: Cooling wort with ice?
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2014, 02:41:28 AM »
But why? Are we all in that much of a hurry that we can't spare a couple extra minutes standing around the wort chiller drinking a beer?

Guess brewing is just my relaxing time. :D

As I mentioned in the original post, wort coolers are expensive.  Freezing brew water instead of buying a wort chiller leaves more $$ for ingredients.  Better ingredients, better beer, Papa Phil...uhh, sorry.
Many of us would be on a strict liquid diet if it weren't for pretzels.

Offline mbalbritton

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 88
  • Tapatalk User
    • View Profile
Re: Cooling wort with ice?
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2014, 02:47:28 AM »
I made my wort chiller for $40 from supplies at Lowes. Copper tubing, some fittings and walla. Same as the $150 ones at the brew shops.

Offline mbalbritton

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 88
  • Tapatalk User
    • View Profile
Re: Cooling wort with ice?
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2014, 02:50:42 AM »

But why? Are we all in that much of a hurry that we can't spare a couple extra minutes standing around the wort chiller drinking a beer?

Guess brewing is just my relaxing time. :D

there are quality benefits to quick cooling. A lowered window of contamination risk, better cold break and therefor better clarity and shelf life, and lower DMS levels to name a few. As an all grain brewer it's not really an option for me but when I do an extract, concentrated boil I don't see why NOT to do this. one of the nice things about extract brewing is the speed and simplicity of the process.

All good points. I've never done an extract brew so I can't speak to that aspect.